National “Stand Down for Safety” Scheduled for May 2-6

standdownLast year, more than 2.5 million workers participated in OSHA’s national “Stand Down for Safety” program to highlight the importance of fall protection in the construction industry. Injuries and fatalities from falls continue to lead the hazards in this industry as well as making it one of OSHA’s top 10 most frequently causes for citation, several years running. This year, OSHA plans on reaching even more employees in the event scheduled for May 2-6, 2016.

Preliminary data shows there were approximately 337 fatalities from construction falls in 2014 and OSHA emphasizes that these falls were preventable. In October of last year, a construction company was fined over $121,000 for more than 22 violations related to fall hazards.

A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Employers are encouraged to tailor the event to meet the specific needs of their companies: A Stand-Down could be as simple as a 15-minute toolbox talk or several hours of training over a week.

Says OSHA, “Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. OSHA also hosts an Events page with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and workers find events in their areas.

The meeting should provide information to workers about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises (a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc.) can increase retention.

As testimony to their commitment to safety, employers will be able to download Certificates of Participation on their experience. The certificate pages will be active on May 2nd at OSHA’s webpage Stop Falls Stand-Down and at National Safety Council’s (NSC) webpage.

In planning a company-specific Stand Down, OSHA suggests considering the following questions:

  1. What needs improvement? Is your program meeting its goals? Are you experiencing fatalities, injuries, or near misses? Are employees aware of the company’s fall protection procedures?
  2. What training have you provided to your workers? Does it need revision?
  3. What equipment have you provided to your workers? Is better equipment available?

OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist with this effort, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council, and the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE).

For more information regarding fall protection programs, contact our office at Diversified Safety Services.

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